Andy Olson has coached his last game with the Spokane Shock and the team is bringing back Adam Shackleford for a second stint as head coach.
Shackleford confirmed Tuesday night he is returning to coach the Shock.
Olson spent seven years with the Shock, two as a standout wide receiver on Shackleford-coached teams, one as an assistant coach and four as head coach.
“I just think that both sides are ready for a change and maybe a next step in a different direction,” Olson said. “The Shock is going to go one direction and I’m going to go another. Eventually that happens with every coach and coaching staff.”
Olson was 43-33 in four seasons. The 2013 Shock, led by Arena Football League MVP Erik Meyer, finished 15-5, falling to Arizona in the National Conference title game. Spokane made the playoffs in three of Olson’s four seasons.
Shackleford guided the Shock to a 49-8 record in arenafootball2 from 2007-09. When Spokane joined the AFL in 2010, ownership didn’t retain Shackleford and promoted assistant Rob Keefe to head coach.
Shackleford has spent the last six seasons as head coach of the Indoor Football League Tri-Cities Fever, compiling a 51-33 regular-season record. Tri-Cities lost in the IFL championship game to Sioux Falls in 2011 and 2012.
All signs point toward Spokane leaving the AFL for the IFL. Olson declined comment on that situation, but said, “if the Shock decides to go the IFL route, that’s not a league I’m interested in coaching in. I’d like to stay at a higher level and continue to take steps forward in my career.”
Spokane hasn’t made an official announcement regarding the IFL or Shackleford’s return, in part because the AFL playoffs are on-going and won’t conclude until Aug. 29. The deadline for Spokane to file a league affiliation agreement with the IFL is Sept. 1.
Shackleford, who lives in Spokane, is leaving on vacation and not expected to return until late August.
Olson hopes to remain in coaching, preferably in the AFL, but didn’t rule out considering other opportunities.
“We’re ready for a new adventure and a new challenge,” he said. Olson wasn’t sure about the status of assistants Travis Crusenberry and Will Mulder, whose contracts expire in September.
Spokane finished an injury plagued 2015 season with a franchise-worst 7-12 record, capped by a 72-41 road loss to Arizona last Saturday in the first round of the playoffs.
“It was a long season, tough season, lot of adversity, a lot of injuries, a lot of quarterbacks, just a lot of things that make a season challenging,” Olson said. “I thought we put ourselves in a situation at the end of the year to do great things.
“I was happy with the football team. These guys care about each other and care about this fan base. For me to be part of it, with the best fan base in arena football for seven years of my life, I’ve been extremely lucky.”
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